Madoff: ‘Deeply Sorry,’ ‘Ashamed,’ Guilty
The country’s most notorious scam artist, Bernard Madoff, pleaded guilty on Thursday to fleecing thousands of investors out of as much as $65 billion at the New York District Courthouse, where several of his defrauded clients turned up to hear him speak.
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International Herald Tribune:
“I am actually grateful for this opportunity to publicly comment about my crimes, for which I am deeply sorry and ashamed,” Madoff — a dapper figure, clad in a charcoal-gray suit, with swept-back, wavy gray hair — said in his first public comments about his crimes since the $65 billion scandal broke in early December.
In a long, detailed statement delivered in a soft but steady voice, Madoff implicated no one but himself in the vast Ponzi scheme. He said he started it as a short-term way to weather the early-1990s recession, and was unable to extricate himself as the years went by.
“I realized that my arrest and this day would inevitably come,” Madoff said in a courtroom crammed with many of the investors he cheated out of billions of dollars.
U.S. District Judge Denny Chin promptly revoked the $10 million bail that had allowed Madoff to remain free since he confessed to his sons three months ago. In ordering him jailed, the judge said Madoff had the means to flee and an incentive to do so because of his age.
The courtroom erupted in applause after the judge announced Madoff would go directly to jail — the drab, windowless high-rise Metropolitan Correctional Center next door to the courthouse to await sentencing. But that did not slake his victims’ anger.
DeWitt Baker, an investor who attended the hearing and said he lost more than $1 million with Madoff, said: “I’d stone him to death.”
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